Should the Ironman Challenge Become an Option in WoW?

Iron Man Challenged is so popular, I hope Blizzard adds it as an official option when rolling a character one day.  It seems like it would be an easy thing to add, just tick a box and you can’t equip uncommon armor, enter instances or BG or learn professions…  Oh and when you die your character is dead forever.  Official integration would lead to a few ‘convenience’ features, like an official leader-board, and the ability to mail all your gold from your dead character to one of your living toons.  Heck, it could be as simple as having the title “Iron <name>” on all new toons that is then lost the first time you die or equip an uncommon/rare/epic item.

The best time to have added a leveling challenge would have been right after Cataclysm.  New leveling content and an incentive to run it in a new way.  Perhaps if they rework the level content again (unlikely) they will add it.  I think they are close to making boosting level at the beginning of an expansion so cheap and easy as to make leveling in the old world irrelevant.

wowchallcrestI was checking out the leader boards they have at wowchallenges.com. Their other challenges are really interesting too.  Along with variable levels of the Ironman (such as Tinman) They have a Pacifist and Blood Thirsty challenges.

Pacifist has gotten a lot of attention from Polygon’s series “World of Peacecraft” staring the gnome rogue Raandyy, and before that the extreme efforts of the pandaren shaman Doubleagent.  In the past, I’ve said that Pacifist should be a separate ‘class’.  I say that because I think it’s the easiest way to make a character that does not have the ability to attack.  As a class they could get a low level sprint and some kind of aggro reducing ability.  Lorewise they could be cast as Merchants, leading to them being unfriendly/neutral with the opposing faction.

Blood Thirsty is challenging (all grinding mobs, no quests), but it feels like it’s missing something.  If Blizzard added something akin to Blood Thirsty, I think they would have to amp it up. They could making it starkly the opposite of pacifist and put you are at war with BOTH Alliance and Horde.  Those characters would need to have their own starting zone.  Story wise, they could lump all those characters together, like remnants of the Twilight’s Hammer, or make them unique per race, like Leper Gnomes and Grimtotem Tauren.  Something that puts them on the outside of society story wise.  There are certain places that tweaks would need to be made so that these characters could get around the world, like up to Northrend.

The biggest challenge I see with making these philosophically, is that they can not join groups or guilds.  Not being able to party up puts these type of characters at odds with the social nature of the MMO.  That being said, I don’t think anyone would play a challenge mode as their main.  I would love to see some new ways to play baked right in as an option.

WoW Challenges can be found on their website at wowchallenges.com and on Twitter: @WoWChallenges

Why Wait? Mekkatorque in Heroes of the Storm

We know that Blizzard has planned to put Mekkatorque in Heroes of the Storm for a long time (Since 2011 at least) so why wait?  My first thought was that they wanted to wait until the HotS meta was in a certain place for some reason.

But does it make sense to hold a hero until either a counter hero, or until a certain map has been released first?  Any new hero that is added needs to function on all the existing maps without breaking them, and will need to be countered by multiple heroes that already exist.

It could be they are waiting for Mekkatorque to do something in World of Warcraft.  We’ve seen Mekkatorque in his new battle suit.  I wonder if he has some kind of upcoming scene where they will show him doing things that they want to bring in to HotS, but they don’t want to spoil what’s going to happen for World of Warcraft players.  Admittedly, that’s a reach, and might be 100% wishful thinking, but the idea of it makes me excited for BOTH games.

Maybe they want to make him a multi-class character, but that he got too complicated.  Now they are watching how Varian does.  Working kinks out of the multi-class concept with a straight forward character before trying a more complicated one.  As a bonus, they get to test the waters for how multi-class characters are received, and get us the player familiar with the basics of how the system work before adding a layer of complexity on top of it.

Of course, this is all assuming that Mekkatorque hasn’t been scrapped in favor of Chromie.  I highly suspect that the HotS team would like a character that represents each race and class from WoW and that Chromie ticks the ‘gnome’ box.  Datamining had shown Mekkatorque with a ‘tar barrel’ attack that might have turned in to Chromie’s Slowing Sands.  Chromie also has the Gnomeregan score as her theme music instead of the Caverns of Time music.  Doesn’t leave a lot for future gnomes.

The worst part is I can’t just say “we’ll see” because if Mekkatorque is never released, we could speculate forever.  On top of that he could get scrapped, and then picked back up later for a completely different concept.  HotS is so random I am completely unable to guess what character might be coming next.

Inferred Gnome Lore from Warcraft 2 Tinfoil Hat

Because gnome lore in World of Warcraft is… light.  There is a lot of room for head canon.  When coming up with my head canon I try to look back at what is there and infer as much as possible for the source material before I start creating things from whole cloth.  What can be inferred about gnomes from Warcraft 2 lore and game mechanics?

THumanInventorhere are two gnome units and one gnome building in Warcraft 2, the Gnomish Flying Machine, the Gnomish Submarine and the Gnomish Inventor.  The first to become available is the Gnomish Flying Machine.  It’s built at the Gnomish Inventor building. The submarine is built at the shipyard, just like all Alliance boats, but requires the Gnomish Inventor to be present.

WFlyhen World of Warcraft launched in 2004 there were really only 2 gnome characters of any note, Mekkatorque and Thermaplugg.  It’s suggested in the lore that Mekkatorque has been High Tinker since before the Second War. Therefore I feel like it’s safe to assume that he lead the gnomish forces in that conflict, making Gelbin Mekkatorque THE Gnomish Inventor.

WHumanFlyinge see in concept art for Heroes of the Storm that Mekkatorque is a pilot of a Gnomish Flying machine.  This makes sense, his most famous inventions are forms of transportation, the Mechanostrider and the Deeprun Tram.  So his role as a pilot would not contradict anything we see him do in game.  It is further supported more by the suit of power armor he pilots on the Broken Shore in Legion.  Mekkatorque seems as comfortable behind a control panel as he does with a melee weapon.

IWC2HumanSubmarinef we assume that Mekkatorque lead the Gnomish Air Force during the Second war, I think it’s safe to assume that Thermaplugg was Admiral of the Gnomish Navy.  Thermaplugg would not have been on the same level as Mekkatorque. He would have been under the command of Grand Admiral Proudmoore from Kil Tiras.  The lore descriptions of how the subs were used in Warcraft 2 imply that the gnome submarines were under Proudmoore’s command.

I would love to see a remastered Warcraft 2 RTS that featured Mekkatorque as a hero Flying Machine unit, and Thermaplugg as a hero Submarine unit.

IHumanGryphonf we look further at the game mechanics to give lore hints, we find something else.  There are two dwarven units in the game too.  The Gryphon Rider, which is a Wildhammer dwarf, and the Demolishion Squad, from underground Kaz’Modan.  The thing is, the Dwarves of Ironforge are the second unit you get from the Gnomish Inventor.

IDwarfdemo think that while the Wildhammers were going all in with the Alliance Forces, Ironforge was holding back, and the Ironforge dwarves that did participate were under the command of Mekkatorque.

WHumanAviaryildhammers are said in the lore to be separate and distrusting of the other dwarves.  They even have their own building for their unit.  But the Ironforge dwarves come from the Gnomish Inventor.  It supports the idea of the strained relationship between Wildhammers and Bronzebeards.

If Ironforge feels about the same way towards Wildhammers as Wildhammers feel about them.  I could see Magni not wanting to commit to the Alliance fully because the Wildhammers were featuring such a predominate role in it’s formation.  Is it really a stretch to think that Magni would want to keep the Wildhammers, and by extension the Alliance, at arms length?  Here is this large organization forming, that includes both friendly trading partners and old rivals.  He can’t snub them by refusing to join, and the threat too Azeroth as a whole is large to be ignored.  So rather than put Ironforge dwarves at risk of having to take orders from Wildhammers, he asks Mekkatorque to take the role leading Ironforge and Gnomeregan’s combined forces.  That way he can send aids to his allies, and defend Azeroth, without having to buddy up to the Wildhammers.

All that political and military entanglement of Ironforge and Gnomeregan could lead to Gnomeregan catching the attention of the Dark Irons… but that’s a path we can go down later.

I have not had a chance to read Chronicles Volume 2 yet, but from what I have heard there is not a lot of development of either Gnomeregan or Ironforge from the Warcraft 2 era.  I really wish that some distance would be put between the Gnomes and Dwarves in Warcraft.  They can be friends with being shoehorned in to the same niche in the lore.  At this point they remain inexorably tied to one another.  I hope that they will continue to work on making each more unique by diversifying their kits in different directions.

Transmog Store

HelmsShopEyepatches2A few weeks ago, Matthew Rossi over at Blizzard Watch wrote a couple of articles about transmog and they made me think.  What would I buy from the store for transmog?  Why don’t I like the three helms they have available?

I think I don’t like the helms because of how stylized they are.  Each one looks like it is a part of a larger set.  You can not buy one to complement your transmog, you have to build an outfit around the helm.  What I really want are simpler items that I can use with a variety of outfits.

I would like to see more flexible RP options in the transmog store. For example, some people use the [Crimson Beholder Eye] as a plate ‘eye-patch’ (even though it is a monocle).  If I could buy and [Eyepatch] that came with ~10 different recolors or patterns, I would snatch that up.  The same if true for generic hoods and goggles.  If there was a bundled kit full of colors to match lots of outfits, I would be much more inclined to buy them.  I would also love a hood/cowl/mask option that would automatically match the color scheme of my guild tabard.
The three helms they have in the store already could even be improved by simply adding a few tint shifts for them so we can make the helm match what we are wearing instead of the other way around.  Jewel of the Firelord/Fel Lord/Frost Lord/Light Lord/Shadowlord anyone?

Helms2Right now the role-play options for plate wears is esspecially low.  We have goggles now, but we still can’t wear eye-patches, blind folds, masks, most monocles, or hats.  Opening these up across armor types would make me very happy.

http://blizzardwatch.com/2017/03/16/transmog-items-sale/

http://blizzardwatch.com/2017/03/20/like-added-transmogrification-system/

 

What CLASS is Mekkatorque

What class is Mekkatorque?

First I am going to assume he is a class that players can be (and therefore, not a Tinker).  Two things narrow down the class list right away. Clearly Mekkatorque wears plate, and his eyes do not glow blue, which leaves us with Warrior and Paladin.

Mekkatorque fights with a one handed mace, and shield.  That fact would seem to run counter to Arms and Fury Warriors, and Holy and Retribution Paladins.

So he must protection spec’ed, either as a Warrior or Paladin.

Player gnomes can not be paladins, but NPCs seem to be able to skirt class restrictions.  Lets call the fact that PC gnomes can’t be Paladins +1 for Warrior, and -1 for Paladin.

The Freethinker’s Plate Gelbin wears, and mace he wields give a bonus’ to intellect.  In fact most armor from engineering or with armors that features moving gears on it gives intellect, like the Timepiece of the Bronze Flight. That’s +1 for Paladin.  In addition to that maces are a part of the paladin kit.  Gnomeregan has an ‘official’ sword in the Gnomeregan Bone Chopper.  Many gnome NPC’s in New Tinkertown use it, but not Mekkatorque, +1/2 for paladin.

Mekkatorque also shoots lasers!  Mekkatorque Ray is a beam of light that he shoots at Crushcog.  The visual on Mekkatorque Missile is also a large flash of light.  His third non-melee attack is a Goblin Dragon Gun, which come from engineering and not a class. Light based attacks +1 paladin.

Mekkatorque is always jolly.  He laughs a lot! We never see any RAGE from him. -1 Warrior.

That brings the score to Warrior 0, Paladin 1.5

But math is boring and non-descriptiveness, so lets look at Mekkatorque’s story and see what we can find.  My theory is that Mekkatorque has been either a Warrior or Tinker since the launch of the game.  It fit with the gnome kit at the time, and there was not a lot of development for gnomes in Vanilla beyond The Grand Betrayal.

Then the Lich King invaded (Patch 3.0), and scourge zombies were roaming the streets of every major city on Azeroth.  And in our fight against them, gnomes get this quest: http://wow.gamepedia.com/Quest:Ironforge_(gnome)Mekkatorque_old_model

You receive an artifact of great power from a Naaru that you bring to Mekkatoque.  Mekkatorque takes the concentrated light from you to make an artifact to destroy the undead.  This is very similar to how the Ashbringer was made by Magni Bronzebeard.  Magni was not a paladin, but he also did not use the Ashbringer, he gave it to a Paladin.

But does Gelbin give what he has created to the player to wield? No. He KEEPS it. I think that Gelbin Mekkatorque when presented with the raw power of Light directly from a Naaru, took that power and he kept it, used it create the mace he now carries (Which has a light bulb on top) and began transitioning to be a Paladin.  It is at the END of the Lich King expansion (Patch 3.3) that Gelbin puts on his full set of Intellect plate and start wielding this new weapon.

My conclusion is that Gelbin Mekkatorque did not start as a Paladin, but that he is one now, and he is waiting until he is comfortable in his master of these powers before he begins to teach other gnomes this new discipline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The One True Leper Transmog Set (Can’t Actually be Transmog’ed)

LeperTransmogTrue2

It’s the Hyperion set, with Bloodscale Pauldrons. Sadly we can get the Rocket helm, but not transmog it.  I use a [Stylish Red Shirt] to complete the look.  The sleeves are a little darker red than the plain red shirt and the black/brown areas give it some contrast that it needs.

http://www.wowhead.com/transmog-set=336/imbued-plate-recolor

http://ptr.wowhead.com/item=24948/bloodscale-pauldrons#same-model-as

Mounts Mounts Mounts!

I have had a few rambling incomplete thoughts about mounts lately.TackyStrider

Size, flying, acquisition.

I hear people saying;

Big characters on small mounts looks weird.

Super Rare mounts are frustrating.

Not being able to fly is frustrating.

Giant mounts in cites are frustrating.

 

On mounts being different sizes for different races: At some point, during one of the Blizzcons, or in an interview, someone from Blizzard off handily mentioned that mounts scale based on your character’s race, so that they have the same collision size. That way, a given mount will always fit through (and not fit through) a given doorway, no matter who is riding it.  There was also a blog post when the Heart of the Aspects dropped.  Someone reported that it was able to walk though water in a battle ground where most mounted characters would be forced to swim.  Blizzard took the report very seriously.   I think it’s obvious that the mounts scale so that the players game play experience on a given mount is uniform across all characters.

Super Rare Mounts Grind: Rare mounts are frustrating to grind, because you are not supposed to grind them.  They are intended to be a cool thing for ‘lucky’ players, but is that really what happens?  I don’t try to farm mounts like the Big Love Rocket, personally. I was never able to even get Deathcharger’s Reins.  I would love those mounts, but hearing other players stories about never getting them despite hundreds of runs discourages me from trying.

Flying: Flying is goofy.  It feels very unnatural to me, and it breaks my immersion in the game to be hovering above the game, immune.  The way flying mounts move is so unnatural.  There is no momentum, no physics to speak of.  On the other size of that.  Any change that could be made at this point would be adding a limitation to it.  Mounts are already perfectly maneuverable, have zero acceleration time, and move a speed that pushes the game engine to it’s limit.  Flying mounts need limits, but I can’t imagine what could be added at this point that the community would accept.

Giant Mounts: They are weird and inconvenient in cities.  Everyone has had to deal with a mammoth in front of a mailbox.  Blizzard has addressed the problem indirectly in the past, with NPC’s that you can not mount around.  Putting mail boxes indoors might help, but it would address a symptom and not a cause.  limiting what mounts could be ridden in cities might help, maybe sorting mounts in to size categories, but people want to show off their coolest mounts, so dropping a mount that can’t be ridden in a city lowers it’s cool factor.

Mount Game Play: A mount system would be cool.  Pet battles have totally changed that aspect of the game.  I think that seeing the mounts tab right next to that pet tab, makes me want an optional mini-game for mounts.  I would love to see a system that let me get more engaged with these things I have collected.  I love the Darkmoon Faire race system.  If flying mounts required more active management, and couldn’t just hover effortlessly forever I would enjoy them more.

Mounts are fun, they are a great way to customize your characters look and express their personality.  I look forward to seeing what Blizzard does with them in the future.